Celebrating South Australia


17 June 1896 Captain Cedric Howell

 17 June 1896   Captain Cedric Howell

Captain Cedric Ernest Howell DSO, MC, DFC was born in Adelaide on 17 June 1896. He completed his education at Melbourne Grammar School and trained as a draughtsman. In 1914 he was a Second Lieutenant in the 49th (Prahan) Cadet Battalion and in 1916 he enlisted as a private in the AIF. He served for a brief time in France, but in November of that year transferred to the Royal Flying Corps. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 17 March 1917 and posted to No 17 Reserve Squadron. In July he was promoted to Flying Officer and in October was posted to No 28 Squadron in Italy. It was during his time in Italy that his skill and bravery came under notice.

At the time of the creation of the Royal Air Force in April 1918 Howell held the rank of Lieutenant. By the time he was demobilised on 31 July 1919, aged 23, he held an A1 grade from the advanced precision flying school at Gosport, had 19 enemy planes confirmed destroyed and other possible kills, three gallantry awards, and a mention in despatches.

In August 1919 he was nominated by Martinsyde Ltd of Working as the pilot for their entry in the England to Australia air race later in the year. This is the race which made famous the names of Ross and Keith Smith. Howell and his navigator were not so lucky. On 10 December somewhere off the island of Corfu their plane went into the sea. Howell's body was washed ashore some days later. He was buried with full military honours in Heidelberg Cemetery, Victoria on 20 April 1920.

Bede Nairn, Geoffrey Serle (eds), Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 9.